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SIG 149
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SIG 149

Songs of the Sky

The Classical Shop
release date: April 2009

Originally recorded in 2009

Artists:

Stephen Williams

bass

Caroline Dearnley

cello

Joy Hawley

cello

Joy Farrall

clarinet

Michael Cox

flute

Sally Pryce

harp

Nicholas Daniel

oboe

Adrian Bending

percussion

Jeremy Cornes

percussion

Julius Drake

piano

Joanna MacGregor

piano

Huw Watkins

piano

Jason Yarde

saxophone

Charles Daniels

tenor

Martin Outram

viola

Clare Finnimore

viola

Catherine Musker

viola

Warren Zielinski

violin

Miranda Dale

violin

Beatrix Lovejoy

violin

Alina Ibragimova

violin

Jacqueline Shave

violin

Jacqueline Shave

violin/director

Britten Sinfonia



Venue:

West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge


Angel Studios, London

25 Nov 2005

Angel Studios, London

25 Nov 2006

Producer:

Chris Wines


Gavin Wright


Jason Yarde



Engineer:

Nieill Alcott


Steve Portnoi



Record Label
Signum

Genre:

Contemporary




Total Time - 75:53
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STEVE MARTLAND

1 

Tiger Dancing

14:58
 Warren Zielinski violin
 Miranda Dale violin
 Beatrix Lovejoy violin
 Clare Finnimore viola
 Catherine Musker viola
 Caroline Dearnley cello
 Joy Hawley cello
 Stephen Williams bass
 

HUW WATKINS

2 

Dream

6:31
 Alina Ibragimova violin
 Joy Farrall clarinet
 Huw Watkins piano
 

TARIK O'REGAN

3 

Raï

12:05
 Jacqueline Shave violin/director
 Martin Outram viola
 Caroline Dearnley cello
 Michael Cox flute
 Joy Farrall clarinet
 Sally Pryce harp
 Adrian Bending percussion
 Jeremy Cornes percussion
 

JASON YARDE

4 

Who Knows the Beauty?

16:31
 Jason Yarde saxophone
 Joanna MacGregor piano
 Jacqueline Shave violin
 Miranda Dale violin
 Clare Finnimore viola
 Stephen Williams bass
 

JOHN TAVENER

5 

Songs of the Sky

25:48
 Nicholas Daniel oboe
 Julius Drake piano
 Charles Daniels tenor
   


Songs of the Sky is the first in a new series of discs in collaboration with the Britten Sinfonia.

How does music react when cultures collide? And what does it mean to speak of musical modernity in today’s ever-changing artistic climate? This collection of five world premiere recordings, written especially for the Britten Sinfonia, explores the different guises of 21st century composition.

Tarik O’Regan takes Arab dance music out of its traditional environment and explores its influence upon and absorption of non-Arab culture. Jason Yarde’s Who knows the Beauty, uses freely experimental approaches to combine different soundworlds, scored for piano quintet and saxophone. Written in direct response to the deadly tsunami in 2004, John Tavener’s Songs of the Sky is a powerful memorial to those who died in the tragedy.
 

"Jo Buckley’s booklet-notes question the views of ’critics [who] speak of a loss of definition or even a sense of disillusionment’ in contemporary music. As this disc demonstrates, while ’serious’ music maybe less pure than 50 years ago and there may no longer be a Great Tradition, there is ample evidence of its vitality and the commitment of its exponents.

Martland’s Tiger Dancing,variations on a setting of Blake’s The Tyger, relies on supple, athletic grace rather than the usual brawn of his Industrial-Minimalist works. Agile phrasing and bright textures make for an inviting opening track. Watkins’s thoughtful Dream begins with a gentle melody for piano cushioned by quiet tones on violin and clarinet, but unexpected and unsettling images soon break in. Ra1 an intriguing contrast to the choral music mostly associated with O’Regan, refers to Algerian dance music, but the impact of O’Regan’s time in New York is also strongly evident. Yarde is a jazz saxophonist, but jazz is only one of the genres he calls in during his kaleidoscopic consideration of Who Knows the Beauty. The album’s title-piece, Tavener’s emotional, affecting, almost confrontational response to the 2004 tsunami, displays the spikier turn his music has taken in recent years and is full of remarkably direct evocations of Britten."     ****

Barry Witherden

BBC Music Magazine - July 2009



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